segafredo logoSegafredo, the bar and restaurant, but mostly bar, that opened mere months ago at Mills Park has closed.

It was a project of Italian coffee company Segafredo Zanetti, and I can attest to the fact that the coffee was good. But everything else about the place, as I listed in my review of Segafredo in April, was poorly done. It seemed as though it wanted to be a place for drinking. The second floor balcony bar was a highlight, but that wasn't enough, apparently, to carry it. On Wednesday evening, the phone at Segafredo was answered by a factory-installed answering message, and a worker at the Brass Tap next door said that no one had been seen at the coffee shop (bar) all day.

Segafredo becomes the first of the businesses at Mills Park, which is at the corner of Mills Avenue and Virginia Drive, to close.

Anyone looking for a duplex restaurant with a nice patio on the second level?





The space in the Winn-Dixie Plaza at the corner of Curry Ford Road and Crystal Lake Drive that was most recently the home of Southern Moon Smokehouse will next hold two businesses, a Mexican restaurant and a craft brewery.

La Fiesta Mexican Grill will move from its spot across the street to take over part of the space, which was also the address for Holy Smoke barbecue. It was originally an Eckerd drugstore.

They will share the space with a new business, Ocean Sun Brewing. Ocean Sun is a partnership of three restaurant veterans, Bob Deweese and brothers Mark and Steve Wilkerson. Mark Wilkerson said he expects Ocean Sun’s taps to start flowing in late February. He expects the restaurant to open before the brewery. He said that he is in talks with the restaurant’s owner to provide food to the brewery’s patrons. La Fiesta’s owner was not immediately available for comment.

Wilkerson said that a master brewer has been hired, but he could not divulge the name because he was still working for another local brewer and is not ready to leave that position.

When Southern Moon opened in March of 2014, it was the intention of the owners to also have a craft brewery operation. House-made root beer was about as close as they came. There was a break in the partnership at Southern Moon late last year and the restaurant closed some months later.

This will not be the first move for La Fiesta. It started out in a small shack on Curry Ford just east of Bumby Avenue before moving to 2901 Curry Ford Road, presumably for more seating possibilities. The new space at 3030 Curry Ford Road should give the Mexican restaurant even more seats.


Raglan Anniversary table

I got to go back to Ireland the other day, just for a few hours.

The occasion was the 10th anniversary dinner at Raglan Road, the denouement of a months long journey that included an actual trip to Ireland. The dinner at Raglan Road, which recently changed its address to Disney Springs without having to actually move, was prepared by the winners of a contest the restaurant had as part of the celebration. They included Central Floridians Aaron Van Swearingen, Colleen Kerney and Janice Epaillard, and Heather McBroom Walker of Scottsdale, Ariz. Linda Rohr of Darien, Conn., was unable to attend the dinner.

Contestants had submitted YouTube videos telling Raglan’s chef/partner Kevin Dundon what they would prepare for a 10th anniversary dinner. From those videos, Dundon selected the five winners, then flew them to Ireland and his Dunbrody Country House where he also has a cooking school.


Morimoto dining room 1

Now that Morimoto Asia has been open several weeks, following a very splashy and high-profile grand opening, I thought it was time to stop in at the Disney Springs restaurant and experience the it at full throttle. So I headed down with a few friends to try what is arguably the hottest new restaurant in town.

For the uninitiated — or those who don’t follow challenge cooking shows — Masaharu Morimoto is a star of the programs Iron Chef in Japan and its spinoff Iron Chef America. He has several restaurants that bear his name around the world, including in Mumbai, New Delhi, Philadelphia, New York and Mexico City. Those restaurants are named simply Morimoto and feature the chef’s signature Japanese cuisine. (The nearest Morimoto is in Boca Raton.)

The Disney Springs restaurant is Morimoto Asia to distinguish it from the other restaurants. Technically, the restaurant is operated by the Patina Restaurant Group, which also has the two restaurants at Epcot’s Italy pavilion as well as others throughout the country, including Lincoln at New York’s Lincoln Center. My sources told me that the Disney restaurant started out to be a genuine Morimoto but that the chef became disenchanted with the bureaucracy and chose to continue under a licensing agreement. 

(For other photos and a video of Morimoto Asia before it opened, click this link.)

So don’t visit Morimoto Asia expecting to see the Iron Chef, um, ironing. He’ll undoubtedly visit from time to time, but he has left command of the kitchen to Takao Iinuma. (And let’s be fair: You’re not likely to see Morimoto at any of his other nine restaurants on any given night, either.)


local logo

Here’s a switch: a local group taking over a franchise instead of the other way around.

The Meat House, the franchised butcherie on Orange Avenue in Winter Park, will become The Local Butcher and Market. It will be a second location for the business, which opened in May in Winter Garden.

The Local’s Jason VanBeukering, who owns the business with Kevin O’Donnell, had been an employee at the Winter Park shop when it started to have financial problems. The two decided to take it over and convert it to The Local. VanBeukering told me that he plans to make some design changes to the interior. “We’re working on the signage,” he said. We plan to take out a wall, put up some fresh paint — liven it up a bit and maybe put in some tables.”

He said he hopes the transition to take place in the next month, but acknowledged the holidays make the timing a bit of a problem. “It may be one of those third-shift deals,” he said, stating that the changes might be done overnight so that the shop will not have to close.

It shouldn’t go without noting that the Meat House, or The Local Butcher and Market, that is, is just around the corner from Swine & Sons Provisions. Although the latter does not deal in fresh prime cuts of meat as the former.

Update: O'Donnell, who also owns the Porch next door to the Meat House location, says that he plans to add an eight or 10 seat European style cafe indoors with another 12 seats outside. They'll serve local sandwiches that feature in-house sausages and other meats, including the Local's own brined and cured corned beef for Reuben sandwiches.